Italian culture served up Saturday

Members of the Colombo Lodge are celebrating that Italian spirit is alive and well with their second annual Piazza Day.

Though Italian culture in the Gulch may be different from its original roots, the food isn’t.

Members of the Colombo Lodge are celebrating that Italian spirit is alive and well with their second annual Piazza Day.

“Us Italians, we just want to eat and eat and eat all the time,” laughed Colombo member Sergio Peloso.

The family-orientated event this Saturday is a chance for residents to enjoy the Piazza Colombo and indulge in traditional food.

Beyond sausages, pizza, polenta and other Italian treats, parents can tune into live music led by Terry Mandoli while their children take in a magic act or get their faces painted.

Since the introduction of the community space – which features flower gardens, a fountain, a piazza monument, columns, pathways and benches – lodge members have been aiming to bring some life back to Rossland Avenue.

“This street was the street,” recalled Peloso. “If you look at the history of Trail at one time in the ‘50s when we (Italian immigrants) got here,the railway was going down there, there was lots of butcher stores and grocery stores – this was the hub of Trail.”

What was described as the oldest construction crew in Canada, a volunteer group of retirees recreated a part of their Italian heritage by building the authentic green space next to the Colombo Lodge in 2007.

“It was just a dust bowl, is what it was, and it really looked terrible,” he recalled the lot prior to the community project. “We thought when people are coming in and seeing this, they’re thinking this is a real dump and we decided to do something about it.”

Every morning the group of Colombo members – which happen to be retired tradesmen – would dig trenches, pour concrete, build forms and excavate to create the finished product.

“Now that we’ve done it, we’d like to show everybody and welcome everybody to come and use it,” said Peloso of the celebration that starts at 11 a.m. and will likely wrap up around 3 p.m.